If you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes, you should not worry yourself for that is not the end. You still have a long way to go in life enjoying life’s beauty just as any other person. All you have to do is respect the standards of living with diabetes. Follow your doctor’s instructions on the line. Do not miss any of your drugs. Make sure you equip yourself with sufficient amount of information concerning the way a diabetic person recommended to live. If you want to live for long with diabetes, you have to continuously improve your health. You can successfully control diabetes by exercising, eating well and keeping yourself informed about developments for a better treatment. Quality life has to do with finding ways of being happy, sharing with others and having fun. Eliminate the feeling of loneliness in dealing with the disease.
Create an appointment with your Doctor
Before taking any decisions, always seek medical advice and make sure you pose all worries and questions you have to your doctor. Never allow even the small things go unnoticed for they can likely mean something significant and the earlier you bring it to your doctor the better. If you have not been taking your recommended medications, and recommended diet make sure you meet your doctor.
Take your recommended diet serious
Either your dietician or doctor has given you a good diet to follow. It should be noted that good diet is a key to maintaining wellness especially living with diabetes. Each individual with diabetes has different needs, so your doctor or dietician would likely tailor for you a diet that suits your needs. Always ask for a recommended diet if you haven’t been given one. Make sure you drink carefully. This is because a lot of homemade and commercial drinks contain large quantities of sugar and other additions that can likely spoil a carefully followed and recommended diet from your doctor. Always ask questions from your doctor of the special needs you have to take note of while living with diabetes. Always learn to read labels. Everyone should read nutritional labels on all foods, but this tends to even be more important for those living with diabetes. If you are struggling to stay on track, a food diary can really be of great help. This will help you prepare in advance and prevent poor eating habits.
Always take your medication as recommended
If you have been skipping your medical doses then you are risking your life and exposing yourself to other complications that can arise. You should be aware of possible interactions between this medication and food, other drug intakes and drinks. For this reason, always ask your doctor for clear advice on what is safe and unsafe to combine with this your diabetic drug. Also ask your doctor on how to balance food and medication intake. Whenever you meet a doctor different from your usual doctor, make sure he knows you are a diabetic patient before administering you any medication. Always remember your doctor needs to know everything you are taking especially vitamins and herbs.
Know what is healthy to eat when living with diabetes
The American Diabetes Association recommends food that is healthy for all persons whether they are diabetic or not. Generally, food is eaten for general health well-being than just following a diet for diabetes. The association recommends food that includes the following for diabetes;
- 2 to 4 servings of fruits per day;
- 2 to 2 servings of Fish, meat, and cheese per day;
- 6 or more servings of whole grains, beans, vegetables, and noodles per day;
- 2 to 3 servings of yogurt and milk per day;
- Consume breads and cereals that are limited in sodium and contain no white flour for as a good diet for diabetes;
- Alcohol, sweats, and fats should be consumed only in very small amounts each day; and
- All condiments should be low in sodium and free from sugar.
Always drink at least 6 to 8 cups of fluid daily
Tap water remains your ultimate best and first choice to accompany diets for diabetes. However, you can also consume coffee, tea, mineral waters, artificially sweetened drink powders, and low calorie drinks. Always limit the intake of milk due to its natural milk sugars. Drinks to completely avoid when living with diabetes;
- Tonic water;
- Sugary sport drinks; and
- Sweetened soda drinks.
Carryout regular exercise alongside a recommended diet for diabetes
Always ask your doctor the recommended amount of exercise in your personal case. Take on walks with your mates. Different exercises work well for different people so find out that which suits you best and you enjoy doing. Always exercise moderately and make sure you are following your recommended diet to remain healthy. A scientific study was carried out and found that three short walks every day after each diet effectively reduces blood sugar levels with 24 hours as a single 45-minutes’ walk would. This scientific exercise was conducted at the George Washington University. If you experience painful joints that prevent you from exercising, meet your doctor and ask which water assisted exercise you can take. As a Tai chi instructor for a good number of years now, I personally recommend all diabetic patients to join its practice. Involving neither brusque movements nor physical force, it greatly lowers your blood sugar levels by burning large amounts of calories. All you need for its practice is the ability to breath. It remains an ultimate physical activity which when used alongside a proper diet for diabetes can increase a diabetes life expectancy.
How to know you have diabetes
You can’t just remain at home and conclude you have diabetes or not. You always need a doctor’s help. But what should guide you to the doctor? Symptoms of diabetes are responsible in guiding you towards a doctor for verification. However symptoms of diabetes for people with Type 2 diabetes are just so mild that they often go unnoticed most of the times. Common symptoms of diabetes are;
- Feeling very thirsty;
- Extreme fatigue;
- Urinating often;
- Blurry vision;
- Pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands and feet;
- For Type 1, you lose weight even when you eat much;
- Cuts that are quite slow to heal; and
- Feeling very hungry even when you are eating.
You can reduce the risks of developing complications of diabetes if you detect and treat it early. Whenever one or more of the above symptoms of diabetes is experienced, immediate medical attention should be called at once. It is recommended to conduct frequent diabetes test, once in three months.
Women who are having gestational diabetes generally do not experience any symptoms of diabetes. This is while it is quite important for women to carry out this test on regular intervals.
Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes symptoms and signs can suddenly appear and include;
- Frequent urination;
- Increased thirst;
- Extreme hunger;
- Bed waiting in children who did not previously wet the bed;
- Blurred vision;
- Fatigue and weakness; and
- Unintended weight loss.
When to see a doctor?
You should seek a medical doctor’s help immediately you realise any of the above symptoms of diabetes in you or your child.
Causes of diabetes Type 1
The precise causes of diabetes Type 1 are not known up to date. In such cases, the body’s immune system that is responsible for fighting harmful viruses and bacteria instead turn and destroy insulin producing cells in the pancreas. This leaves the body with no insulin to transport sugar in the blood for energy production. Other possible causes can be;
- Exposure to viruses and other external factors; and
The main role of insulin
Once a good number of islet cells in the body are destroyed, you won’t produce any insulin. At times your body produces very little not capable of supporting and maintaining good health. Insulin is a hormone. The Pancreas is responsible for secreting insulin in to the bloodstream. The circulation of insulin in your body allows for sugar to enter into your cells. Insulin has as main aim lowering blood sugar levels. Meaning as your blood sugar levels drop so is the insulin from your pancreas.
The role of Glucose
Glucose which is a sugar is the body’s main source of energy for all cells making up muscles and organs. Glucose comes from two chief sources being your liver and the food you take in. Sugar is absorbed into the blood stream where it enters cells thanks to insulin. Your Liver often stores glucose as glycogen. This helps in situations where your glucose level breaks down in situations that you have not eaten. In such cases, the liver breaks down the glycogen into glucose which is used to maintain normal functioning of the body. In diabetes Type 1 there is no insulin to lead glucose in the bloodstream into cells for conversion into energy. This can lead to serious life threatening situations.
The present known risk factors for Type 1 diabetes include
Any person with one of the parents having diabetes Type 1 is having an increased risk of developing the same condition.
The presence of certain genes indicates an increased risk of developing diabetes Type 1.
As you travel away from the equator, the risk of having diabetes Type 1 increases.
Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age but has two chief picks. The first is in children aged from 4 to 7 years old. The second pick is in children aged from 10 to 14 years.
Over long periods, Type 1 diabetes can likely affect major organs in your body. These organs include nerves, eyes, blood vessels, heart and kidneys. However, maintaining normal blood sugar levels can drastically reduce the risk of many complications. It should be noted that some diabetes complications can be life threatening whereas some are disabling;
Heart and Blood vessel disease
Diabetes increases your risk of facing various cardiovascular problems. This include stroke, heart attack, narrowing of the arteries, and high blood pressure.
The walls of the tiny blood vessels can likely be injured by excess sugar in the blood. These tiny blood vessels are necessary for nourishing your nerves and legs. Once damaged, they fail in their duties. This would probably cause numbness, tingling, and burning pains that often begin at the tip of the toes or fingers. Poor control of blood sugar levels can cause you to eventually lose all sense of feeling in the limbs. When the nerves are being damaged, the gastrointestinal track is being affected. This would probably lead to vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea or constipation. Men might likely encounter erectile dysfunction.
The kidneys are made up of a good number of tiny blood vessel clusters that completely filter waste from your blood. Unfortunately this delicate filtering system can be damaged by diabetes. Severe damages can lead to the dysfunction of the kidney and in some cases require kidney transplant.
Diabetes is capable of damaging the blood vessels of the retina. This can likely lead to blindness. Diabetes can also increase the risk of other eye issues like glaucoma and cataracts.
Poor blood flow to the foot caused by diabetes can lead to various foot complications. When cuts are allowed untreated on the foot, they can become serious infections that require leg amputation.
Skin and Mouth conditions
More susceptible infections of the skin and the mouth can be brought by diabetes. This includes fungal and bacterial infections. A dry mouth and gum diseases can often be observed due to diabetes.
High blood sugar levels can be dangerous to both the baby and the mother. When diabetes is not controlled, the risk of miscarriage and birth defects are highly increased.
Symptoms of diabetes Type 2
Symptoms and signs of diabetes Type 2 often develop gradually. This makes it possible for you to have Type 2 diabetes for a good number of years without realising it. This makes it very difficult realising and treating Type 2 diabetes in time. However, you should look for the following symptoms of diabetes type 2;
- Frequent urination which goes with increased thirst. This is because excess sugar in your bloodstream would likely pull fluids from your tissues. This always ends up leaving you thirsty. This will make you drink and urinate more than usual.
- Increased hunger. This is because there is not enough insulin in the blood to move sugar in to the muscles and organs that are depleted of energy and triggering hunger.
- Fatigue, you would often be tired because your cells are deprived of sugar.
- Weight loss. Even as you are always eating much to relieve hunger, you still keep on losing weight. This is because in the absence of glucose the body’s metabolism takes upon alternative fuel stores in the muscle. Lot of calories are also lost as excess sugar is being passed through the urine.
- Blurred vision. The eye’s ability to focus is destroyed in cases of high blood sugar levels. This is because the lenses of your eyes would likely pull the fluid.
- Slow healing sores. Diabetes Type 2 highly reduces your ability to resist infection and also the ability for wounds to heal.
- Areas of darkened skin. A lot of people with diabetes Type 2 have darkened areas on their skin.
When to see a doctor
Always encounter your doctor immediately you experience any of the symptoms of diabetes Type 2.
Causes of Diabetes Type 2
Type 2 diabetes is developed when the body becomes resistant to insulin thus producing very little to no insulin. The exact reason why the body’s immune system tends to fight insulin up to today is unknown.
Four steps to manage your diabetes life
Step1: Learn about diabetes
What is diabetes? There exist 3 types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes – This is a situation where your body does not produce insulin. This is a major problem because you need insulin to transform sugar in your blood coming from the food you eat into energy needed for carrying out daily activities. For this reason, you will have to take in insulin daily in order to remain alive.
Type 2 diabetes – This is a situation where your body does not make or even correctly use insulin. In such cases you will need to constantly be taking pills or insulin to help control your diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes in the world.
Gestational diabetes –This is a kind of diabetes often appearing in some women when they are pregnant. Most often it disappears after the woman gives birth. But the women and their children are likely to have diabetes in the later days of their life.
You are the most important member of your health care team
Always remember that you are the person to manage your diabetes daily. For this reason talk to your doctor asking him what you should do to remain healthy in life. Others who can help you are;
- Diabetes doctor;
- Friends and family;
- Social worker;
- Diabetes educator;
- Eye doctor;
- Foot doctor;
- Mental health counsellor; and
- Nurse practitioner.
How to learn more about diabetes
Check with your health care team, area health clinic and hospital to find a class that will permeate you learn more about living with diabetes. You can also research information online. In order to get peer support in managing your diabetes, you should find a join support group. Read about diabetes online.
Take diabetes seriously
Diabetes is really serious but you can learn how to manage it. In order to maintain a healthy weight, people with diabetes need to make healthy food choices. It is recommended diabetics should respect the diet for diabetes. Diabetic patients should always take their medicines even when they feel good and also walk with friends. Even though it is a lot to do, it’s worth it.
Why take care of your diabetes?
If you carefully take care of your diabetes, you will not only feel good today but also in the future. In addition when your blood sugar is close to normal, you are likely to;
- Heal better;
- Be less tired and thirsty;
- Have more energy;
- Need to pass urine less often; and
- Have fewer skin infections.
Your risks of having health problems caused by diabetes are highly reduced. These health problems are;
- Teeth and gum problems;
- Stroke or heart attack;
- Tingling, eye problems, and
- Kidney problems.
Step 2: Know your diabetes ABCs
Always talk to your doctor on how to manage your ABC, Blood pressure and Cholesterol. This will highly reduce your chances of having a stroke, heart attack or Kidney problems.
A for the ABC test – this is a major blood test that measures your average blood sugar level for the past three months. This is quite different from the blood sugar checks you carry out daily. It is important because you have to know your blood sugar levels after a reasonable period of time. No one would want their blood sugar levels to increase.
B for Blood pressure – this is the force of your blood exerted against the walls of your blood vessels. It is important to know it because if it increases, it means your heart is working too much and this can lead to a heart attack.
C for Cholesterol – the blood presents two types of cholesterol being HDL and LDL. LDL is bad cholesterol that can build up and clog your blood vessels thereby preventing free circulation of blood. This can lead to more complications. HDL on its own is good cholesterol that helps remove bad cholesterol from the blood.
Step 3: Learn how to live with diabetes
A lot of people feel sad living with diabetes. There is just no need to feel sad for your doctor will offer to you a scheduled plan to follow and live healthy just like others. It should be noted that stress can raise your blood sugar levels. Meditate, listen to good music, and work on your hobby for this will help you relax. If you feel down, do not hesitate to ask for help. In such cases, move to a mental health counsellor. Often drink water instead of juice. Make sure you eat well. Respect the diet for diabetes.
Step 4: Get routine care to stay healthy
Always encounter your health care team at least twice a year. Profit from this encounter by treating any problems you have. For each visit, make sure you are having;
- A weight check;
- A blood pressure test;
- A foot check; and
- A personal care review of yourself.
Be sure you have the following once every year;
- Flu shot;
- Cholesterol test;
- Urine and blood test;
- Dental exam;
- Dilated eye exam; and
- Completed foot exam.
Once diagnosed with diabetes, accept your condition and live a healthy life.